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John Oliver’s Indian elections episode blocked on Jio Cinema and YouTube

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Jio Cinema and YouTube have barred the latest episode of the popular satirical news program Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, ‘Indian Elections, Trump and Red Lobster,’ from being aired in India. The restricted episode, scheduled for release on June 2nd, is reported to have taken a critical look at the recently concluded Indian elections and delved into sensitive topics related to the country’s political landscape.

While the specific contents of the episode remain undisclosed, the show’s host has hinted that the restricted content may become accessible through alternative websites such as or on June 6th, two days after the election results were announced.

This cryptic suggestion has raised eyebrows and sparked speculation about the episode’s potentially controversial nature.

“I don’t know if this episode is definitely not going to end up airing in India, depending on what they do with the laws around YouTube. If you have friends and family living in India who would like to see it, just encourage them to visit these sites,” said John Oliver.

The incident has drawn parallels to a similar occurrence in 2020 when Disney+ Hotstar, another prominent streaming platform in India, chose to self-censor an episode of the same show that scrutinised the government’s contentious Citizenship Amendment Act and explored the ideology of the influential Hindu nationalist organisation, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

The restricted YouTube episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Last year, a report by the Washington Post highlighted a ‘culture of self-censorship’ within the industry, alleging several proposed and ongoing projects tackling sensitive topics such as religion and caste had been dropped or shelved due to perceived political pressures.

The situation has been further compounded by the impending Broadcasting Services Regulation Bill, 2023, which aims to bring over-the-top (OTT) streaming services under the purview of broadcasting regulations.

Critics argue that the proposed legislation, which establishes content evaluation committees with substantial government influence, could lead to increased scrutiny and potential censorship of themes deemed unfavourable or controversial by the authorities.

These incidents serve as a stark reminder of the power exerted by the Indian government in controlling freedom of speech and expression and suppressing dissenting voices.

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Kumar Hemant

Kumar Hemant

Deputy Editor at Candid.Technology. Hemant writes at the intersection of tech and culture and has a keen interest in science, social issues and international relations. You can contact him here: